I struggle with phone cases. On one hand, I'd like to protect my expensive handheld computer. But at the same time, I can't stand ruining the look and feel of a phone with big, bulky hunks of plastic, which means my phones tend to be naked. But at long last, I think I've found a case so cool, I don't care how ugly it is.
Created by Philip Frenzel, a student from Aalen University in Germany, the AD Case (the "AD" stands for active damping) is like an airbag for your phone, except that instead of using an inflatable cushion to protect the device, it uses built-in sensors and eight hook-like springs that deploy automatically when the case detects that your phone is in free fall.
If this case really performs as well as it does in the video above, when your phone finally hits the ground, it will just harmlessly bounce around before coming to a rest, safe and sound with nary a crack. From there, all you need to do is fold each spring back into the case, and it's ready to protect your phone from its next tumble.
That said, even a case as sophisticated as this isn't entirely foolproof. While the two springs on each corner of the case should do a good job of guarding your phone from falls onto flat ground, the same can't be said about uneven surfaces like rocks or any other irregular shaped object your phone encounters.
Also, while there are sure to be some countermeasures to prevent the springs from deploying accidentally, a small shudder goes down my spine when I think about the case popping open while my phone is sitting in my pocket.
But with Fenzel already having won the top award from the German Society for Mechatronics and registering a patent for his AD Case, there's a good chance this thing might be more than just a one-off prototype relatively soon.